Friday, August 26, 2011

Fantastic Fruit Bars: Improvisational Cookery

Amazing Magical Jell-O RecipesWe can't end our week with Amazing Magical Jell-o Desserts without having at least one -rated recipe "for children with more cooking skills." The fine folk at General Foods seem to think that more cooking skills translates into better improvisational choices, so there's more freedom in this recipe than the others we've looked at.

This freedom might come in handy this weekend, if you're on the East Coast of the U.S., and stuck inside waiting out Hurricane Irene -- you can mix up flavors to suit your tastes and your pantry supplies. Of course, if you're still standing in line at the grocery store, you could ask the nice person behind you to watch your cart while you run to get the ingredients, and then you can plan a little more specifically.

★ Fantastic Fruit Bars

1 cup graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
2 packages (3 oz. each) Jell-O brand orange, lemon or peach flavor gelatin*
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup chopped dried apricots or prunes or chopped mixed dried fruits*
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange rind (optional)*

1-cup dry measure
1-cup liquid measure
small saucepan
medium bowl
measuring spoons
9-inch square pan
small knife

  1. Combine crumbs and melted butter; sprinkle 1/2 cup ccrumb mixture over bottom of a 9-inch square pan.
  2. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
  3. Stir in corn syrup, fruit and rind. Chill until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour into pan over crumbs; sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Chill until firm, about 3 hours.
  5. Cut into bars; store in refrigerator. (Bars hold well at room temperature for several hours.) Makes 20 confections.
*Suggested combinations: Orange flavor gelatin with apricots and orange rind. Lemon flavor gelatin with prunes and lemon rind. Peach flavor gelatin with mixed fruit; omit rind.
They're not coddling kids here: they recommend prunes. Prunes! Instead of raisins! You could use raisins. Or sultanas. Or Craisins. Or...any other dried fruit. Dried blueberries with Berry Blue Jell-O -- why not! Okay, other than my firm belief that food is not nor should it be blue. Regardless, we have a lot more flavor options in the gelatin world these days than we did back in the 70s, so branch out. If the idea of finding a flavor on a cookie tray doesn't make you hurl, try it here.

If I were writing this recipe, I'd change the order of the HOW TO MAKE IT so that you'd do step 2, step 3, and then step 1 -- there's no need for you to make the crust before making the gelatin, and you're going to have some time to twiddle your thumbs as the gelatin thickens slightly. This thumb twiddling time is the perfect time to throw a sleeve of graham crackers in a heavy duty zip top bag and start bashing the crap out of it.

It is entirely acceptable to use pre-crushed, comes-in-a-box-as-crumbs graham cracker crumbs. It is easier to measure, as there's no guess work as to how many crackers you'd need to whack. (We're full service here: 14 graham crackers make a cup of crumbs. You're welcome.) I do have a box of said crumbs on my shelf, in case I get a hankering to make a seven layer cookie. No shame.

Stay safe, folks. It's going to be a heck of a weekend, weather-wise. We'll be back with a new cookbook tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment